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Amber Zone: Salvage on Sharmun By Jeff May
Location: Sharmun (no known location in the 3rd Imperium) Classified as a Red Zone by the TAS
Patron: Kinson, a retired Scout
Mission: Kinson hires the PCs to assist him in recovering a strongbox which was aboard a ship on which he served long ago. The ship crashed on Sharmun and Kinson believes it has not been discovered by the locals. The ship would now be considered salvage.
Complications: Sharmun's two main societies are mutually antagonistic and rabidly xenophobic. Any contact with either one will be likely to trigger a nuclear war between them. Both sides will attack the PCs on sight. Both sides have rudimentary space craft and might detect the PCs' ship. The crash site is close to population centers. The ship is under water, submerged in a lake (where have I heard this before?) and the PCs will have to force their way into it. Proximity to the population center increases the risk of discovery, with the enormous consequences.
Payoff: Kinson is after the payroll which is in the strongbox. The box contains about 5 MCr in cash. The PCs will get a split of the total.
Strong Points: The big challenge in this is getting the job done without detection, as detection means starting a WAR. The PCs need to have stealth and espionage, combat, and technical skills available. The setting could be used to get up lots of other adventures, like signs that some of the ship's crew survived and are hiding out on Sharmun. The PCs will have the tech edge, but the locals have numbers, and this should be emphasized. Everyone they might encounter is likely to be armed, or can quickly summon those who are, and no one's going to be shy about opening a can o' firefight. I think it makes an adventure better when “mow down everyone with automatic fire” is not an available option – the players have to think their way out of problems. Hand to hand combat is more likely, as it is quieter and less likely to raise an alarm. Also, Kinson can be a one-off NPC, or be fleshed out into a recurring ally.
Weak Points: Who wants to have a nuclear war on their conscience? That's a severe repercussion. On the flip side, depending on the PC's equipment, this mission could be very easy. A group with access to Battle Dress and grav belts would be able to zip in and out under cover of darkness, without detection. Also, TL-7 weaponry is unlikely to be much of a threat to PCs in heavy armor.
What I'd change: I would reduce the severity of discovery to a conventional war. I might bring in some of the Victor's forces, or establish Collective patrols to increase the risk. There might be rebels against the Collective busting into the camp to the west, whom the PCs might help, quietly.
In My Traveller Universe: I actually lifted Sharmun whole, and imported it into my Traveller Universe, because I meant to play this Amber Zone myself. It is located in Gelderon subsector 0509.